Cheerleading Lawsuits Increasing and Increasingly Needed
A recent article in the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly predicted more lawsuits on behalf of young people injured in cheerleading competitions. Despite a predictable outcry from anti-tort-justice interests, many of these cheerleading-injury lawsuits will be justified. Cheerleading, as practiced by some of the organizations that run competitions, have come long way from high school girls with pom poms spelling out the name of their school. Competitions run by national and state cheerleading organizations rely on routines of ever-increasing complexity, athleticism, and risk to garnish the large crowds needed to fund their ventures. There is an alarming big business feel to some of the competitions and their organizers, despite protests to the contrary. It should always be kept in mind that of the cheerleaders, most but not all of whom are female, are still young people, in their teens to early twenties. While boilerplate releases may mention the risk of injury, I wonder how many of these young competitors truly understand the risk. Not yet quite full adults, they need to rely on the wisdom and caring of the coaches and organizers. There are some "industry"-wide generally recognized cheerleading safety requirements such as having emergency personnel on-site at all times during a cheerleading competition, and screening to make sure that no competitor engage in routines far beyond their skills. When basic safety standards are ignored and result in death, paralysis or other serious injury, then cheerleading injury lawsuits are necessary to compensate victims and create more introspection and caution by competitive cheerleading organizers.